Variation of intra-crown leaf plasticity of Fagus crenata across its geographical range in Japan
Publication date: 1 December 2018
Source: Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 429
Author(s): H. Roaki Ishii, Shin-ichiro Horikawa, Yuiko Noguchi, Wakana Azuma
Because rates of migration and genetic adaptation are slow, individual trees must initially acclimate to climate change via individual-level plasticity. Therefore, when predicting distribution and persistence of tree species under future climate change scenarios, we must take into account geographical variation in intra-individual plasticity. Here, we investigated geographical variation of intra-individual plasticity of Fagus crenata Blume (Japanese beech), a dominant species in late-successional, cool-temperate forests of Japan. We compared within-crown variation of leaf morphology (intra-crown leaf plasticity, ILP) among 13 sites across the full distribution range of F. crenata. Generally, ILP was lower for trees in the Pacific than Japan-Sea genetic lineages, low for trees in southern sites, and high for trees in sites near the northern and altitudinal range edges. Among the 13 sites, ILP was correlated with environmental variables associated with temperature. Positive correlation between ILP and temperature variation suggested that environmental perturbation selects for high intra-individual plasticity near northern and altitudinal range edges where F. crenata is expanding its distribution range. On the other hand, low ILP of trees in Pacific and southern sites, comprising geographically isolated populations, may reflect low acclimation potential to environmental perturbation. This could lead to local extinction if climatic conditions exceed the range of tolerance resulting in retreat of the Pacific and southern range edges of F. crenata in Japan.
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